Checkride Quick Tip-ELTs
There are really two separate requirements with respect to the ELT. The first is the requirement that ELTs be inspected and functionally tested every 12 calendar months. The second part, about battery replacement, is confusing to many students. They can tell me that the battery must be replaced if it is used for more than one cumulative hour or if it is older than half of its shelf life. However, when I ask how we know if the battery in the plane brought for the checkride is OK, I'm sometimes told that the battery is good if the ELT works. That of course is not correct; the replacement requirement is based on age, not on whether or not the ELT works right now.
How do we know about the current status of the battery? Is it too old? Look in the maintenance logs. The battery expiration date should be right after the ELT inspection statement in the annual inspection logbook entry. If the expiration date isn't included with the ELT inspection entry, then you will have to page backward through the airframe logbook until you find the entry where the ELT battery was installed. That will give you the expiration date.
-Submitted by Larry Bothe, Master CFI and FAA DPE who has conducted more than 700 checkrides.